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Meet Good Kid: The New Golden Boys Of Indie Rock 

The Toronto upstarts lean into each other on their quick rise to the top. 

by Emma Johnston-Wheeler

Photos by Evie Maynes

Good Kid is an apt name for a band comprised of genuinely good guys. The five-piece indie rock outfit, who were recently nominated for Breakthrough Group Of The Year at the 2024 Juno Awards, aren’t your typical musicians. They’re also computer programmers and game enthusiasts who go out of their way to connect with their fans.

The band met while attending the University of Toronto, and became fast friends when they bonded over their many shared interests. Bassist Michael Kozakov remembers first meeting lead singer Nick Frosst in computer science class and admiring him because he asked intelligent questions. Eventually they became lab partners, started coding together, and bonded over their shared history of playing music in bands.

So they started jamming together, and slowly grew in size – drummer Jonathon Kereliuk lived in the same residence as Kozakov and was always playing jazz music, guitarist Jacob Tsafatinos was in Kozakov’s German class, and guitarist David Wood had previously been in a band with Tsafatinos. “One by one, we picked each other up,” said Kozakov. The result is an eclectic blend of J-rock, indie-rock and pop-punk sounds fuelled by a seemingly endless amount of energy. 

Now Kozakov’s computer wizardry has even led him to work with AI company Cohere, which Frosst co-founded with fellow U of T students. He joined the team two years ago after taking on a fun side project with Frosst, in which they used Cohere AI technology to build a website where people can generate new Magic the Gathering cards. Though the website went viral, Kozakov had some complaints about the usability of the software. So Frosst told him ‘If you’re going to complain, come fix it’ and Kozakov never looked back. 

With Good Kid now embarking on a nearly sold out North American and European tour, emphatically titled “This Can’t Be The End,” Kozakov openly shares his love for his bandmates. They juggle their full-time jobs on the road, often taking meetings on the bus and working between sound checks, before and after rehearsals or shows. To decompress, they play Nintendo Switch together and watch anime. With so many shared interests, Kozakov says their friendship is pretty effortless. “We often say no matter what we do musically, the most important thing is that we just keep going for as long as we can together with the five of us,” he said.

At their core the Good Kid are goofy people, which has made them averse to certain traditional band customs. For instance, they’re never seen in band photos looking particularly serious, nor do they wish to. Fortunately their touring photographer, Toronto-based Evie Maynes, is a similarly fun-loving type of person. “Evie is amazing, she just knows us as people,” said Kozakov. “She knows that we’re at our best when we’re fooling around, so she really leans into that.” In a recent photoshoot they did with Maynes, the band is seen squeezing onto a single chair, limbs humorously wrapped around each other, joyfully jumping around on set and throwing Tsafatinos into the air. 

They’re loyal people too, evidenced by their habit of developing long-term working relationships. Not only do they plan on keeping Evie around, said Kozakov, but they’ve also been working with the same artist for several years, Gabriel Altrows, who designed the cover art for their new six-track EP, Good Kid 4.



Not that they seem to need a reason to get excited, but the release of the album is a good one. The highly anticipated tracks were largely written during the pandemic about facing anxiety with friends. Sonically it’s bursting at the seams with restless, upbeat energy– imbued with lyrics that can only have been written by a person with an overactive mind and a big heart. 

“We were lucky that throughout the pandemic, we just decided that the project wouldn’t stop,” said Kozakov. When they weren’t able to meet in person, they started spending more time on Discord, where they bond with their fanbase, sometimes facilitating interactive games and activities for them. They even have a band mascot, Nomu Kid, whose story is shared in the music video for “Summer,” animated by XrayAlphaCharlie.

“We get to talk to a lot of people online who we end up meeting at shows later,” explained Kozakov, “so to them we’re not just five dudes playing music.” Tsafatinos streams several times a week on Twitch and engages with fans there as well, so by the time people get to a Good Kid show, they feel they already know the guys pretty well. 

These relationships mean so much to the band that they actually sacrifice profits in order to allow streamers to access their entire discography content ID and DMCA free, meaning content creators on platforms like YouTube and Twitch are able to freely use their music without fear of copyright takedowns. 

It started when the band happily began to notice fans posting clips of themselves playing video games like Fortnite or Valorant with Good Kid music as the soundtrack, something that creators with slightly larger channels couldn’t do because of copyright. “We wanted to empower these kids to make these awesome videos,” said Kozakov. “We really want the creator community to see us as a group who is supportive of them.” 



The long-term pay off is lasting fan relationships, which can be seen in the band’s growing social following (1.9M+ monthly listeners on Spotify alone). The band’s reach extends to leading YouTube and Twitch accounts in the gaming space, with collaborations featuring notable personalities like XrayAlphaCharlie, Julien Solomita, Trash Taste and Mr Beast (the biggest Youtuber in the world, boasting over 247 million subscribers).

A milestone that stands out as reflecting the strength of those relationships is when enough Good Kid fans tweeted at video game company Epic Games to successfully get the band’s music into Fortnite two years ago. The guys were walking home from band practice at the time when they found out their song “Witches” had been added to Fortnite Radio, and they ran to play the game. It’s a bright, motivational tune to encounter in a colourful battlefield where gamers are shooting at you from all directions “The goal was not to win, it was just to find our song and to hear the song,” laughed Kozakov. “You basically have to drive in a car, and your song has to come on the radio as you’re driving. So we were just driving around and trying not to get killed.”

“We were all really excited about that because we understood what it meant,” he explained. “It meant that some kids are going to be excited to discover our music because they found it in their favourite game.”